Chris Wilder

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Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder.png
Wilder in 2008
Personal information
Full name Christopher John Wilder
Date of birth (1967-09-23) 23 September 1967 (age 54)
Place of birth Stocksbridge, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) [1]
Position(s) Right-back [2]
Club information
Current team
Middlesbrough (manager)
Youth career
1982–1986 Southampton
Senior career*
1986–1992 Sheffield United 93 (1)
1989Walsall (loan) 4 (0)
1990Charlton Athletic (loan) 1 (0)
1991Charlton Athletic (loan) 2 (0)
1992Leyton Orient (loan) 16 (1)
1992–1996 Rotherham United 132 (11)
1996–1997 Notts County 46 (0)
1997–1998 Bradford City 42 (0)
1998–1999 Sheffield United 12 (0)
1998Northampton Town (loan) 1 (0)
1999Lincoln City (loan) 3 (0)
1999 Brighton & Hove Albion 11 (0)
1999–2001 Halifax Town 51 (1)
Teams managed
2001–2002 Alfreton Town
2002–2008 Halifax Town
2008–2014 Oxford United
2014–2016 Northampton Town
2016–2021 Sheffield United
2021– Middlesbrough
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Christopher John Wilder (born 23 September 1967) is an English professional football manager and former player who played as a right-back. He is the manager of EFL Championship club Middlesbrough.


His extensive professional playing career saw spells at Sheffield United (twice), Rotherham United, Notts County, Bradford City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Halifax Town. He also had loan spells at five clubs.

After retiring, he became a manager and was in charge of Alfreton Town, Halifax Town (their last manager before liquidation), Oxford United and Northampton Town before his appointment at Sheffield United. He won promotion from the Conference Premier with Oxford via the play-offs in 2010, from League Two as champions with Northampton in 2016, from League One with Sheffield United as champions in 2017, and from the Championship with the same club two years later.

Early life

Christopher John Wilder was born on 23 September 1967 in Stocksbridge, West Riding of Yorkshire. [2]

Playing career

Wilder started his football career as a trainee at Southampton and was released without making it into the first team. [3]

He moved on to Sheffield United in August 1986. In December 1987, defender Wilder was sent off for a crude tackle on Milwall's Jimmy Carter in a season which saw the Sheffield club relegated to the third division. [4] The following season Wilder was on the receiving end, being elbowed in the face. Swansea's Bryan Wade received a three match ban for violent conduct as a result. [5] Wilder was a regular in the team that finished second and therefore clinched promotion back to the second division at the first attempt in the 1988–89 season, and was also part of the squad that gained a further promotion the season after, this time back to the first division, after an absence of fourteen years. Wilder was a regular during the following season back in the first division, but thereafter found appearances harder to come by, hence Wilder left for nearby Rotherham United in 1992, staying for a further four years and amassing his largest number of games and goals for one club. [6]

In 1998 Wilder returned to Sheffield United, and a year later he was brought to Brighton by Micky Adams before joining Halifax Town that same year. [7]

Managerial career

Alfreton Town

Wilder began his career in management at Alfreton Town. He took over at the club in late October 2001 and in the 27 weeks he was in charge won four trophies: the Northern Counties (East) League Premier Division, the League Cup, the President's Cup and the Derbyshire Senior Cup.

Halifax Town

Wilder returned to Halifax Town as manager on 2 July 2002. [8] [9] He replaced caretaker manager Neil Redfearn, who had in turn replaced Alan Little (who left on 8 April after falling ill with appendicitis in March). Halifax had been relegated to the Conference at the end of the season.

Wilder was in charge at Halifax for more than 300 games until the club went into liquidation on 30 June 2008, and he decided to join former Halifax defender Alan Knill, as the assistant manager of Bury. [10]

Oxford United

After fewer than six months at Gigg Lane, Wilder was appointed as the manager of Conference National club Oxford United on 21 December 2008 [11] (replacing Jim Smith who had been caretaker manager in the wake of Darren Patterson's sacking), where he only just missed out on a play-off place in his first season. Wilder's first full season in charge of Oxford began successfully and by mid-season they were top of the Conference table by five points with a game in hand. However, Oxford were overtaken by Stevenage, who would go on to win the title and take the automatic promotion place, consigning the Us to the playoffs with Luton Town, Rushden & Diamonds and York City. They defeated Rushden & Diamonds to reach the play-off final, and gained promotion to the Football League by beating York City 3–1. [12]

In their first season back in the Football League in four years, Wilder guided Oxford to mid-table safety. The team finished 12th, in the top half of the table, their highest finish in seven years. [13] The next season Oxford finished ninth, after poor form late in the season led to the team dropping out of the play-off position they had occupied for most of the year. [14] Oxford's chairman Kelvin Thomas gave Wilder his backing, meaning he would remain manager for the 2012–13 season. [15] Despite failing to achieve a play-off place again in Oxford's third season back in the League, and intense speculation about his future at the club, Wilder was offered and accepted a further one-year contract for the 2013–14 season. [16]

On 26 January 2014 he resigned as Oxford manager with the intention of joining League Two rivals Northampton Town as their manager. [17]

Northampton Town

On 27 January 2014, Wilder was appointed manager of Northampton Town, signing a three-and-a-half year contract. Wilder successfully battled against relegation to the Conference, after taking over the club in the relegation zone in League 2. [18] He led the side to a mid-table finish in the 2014–15 season, and then to the League Two title the following season with 99 points, [19] despite significant financial difficulties at the club resulting in players and staff not being paid during October and November 2015. [20]

Sheffield United

On 12 May 2016, Wilder joined his boyhood club Sheffield United as their new manager on a three-year contract, following the parting of company with Nigel Adkins. [21] [22] In the pre-season, despite little financial backing, he was able to bring some new players in, many of which were free transfers. He then made Sheffield born Billy Sharp club captain. However, Wilder's League One managerial debut got off to a poor start, only gaining a single point from the first four games, which left Sheffield United at the bottom of League One. [23] Despite this, the club pushed on and went on to become League One Champions, securing 100 points in the process, a club record. [24]

His second season was full of highs and few lows. His managerial Championship debut against Brentford ended in a 1–0 win for Sheffield United. [25] Then in September 2017, United beat city rivals Sheffield Wednesday 4–2 at Hillsborough, [26] a record for goals scored by United against Wednesday at Hillsborough. By the end of October, after beating local rivals Leeds United 2–1 at Elland Road, Sheffield United were top of the Championship. [27]

On 28 April 2019, it was confirmed that Wilder had led the Blades to the Premier League following nearest rival Leeds' 1–1 draw at home. [28] This ensured his second promotion in just three years at the club. This achievement earned him the LMA Manager of the Year award. [29]

In July 2019, Wilder signed a new three-year contract with the club. [30] On 10 January 2020, Wilder signed a four-year contract extension with the club. [31] Sheffield United went on to finish ninth in their first season back in the top flight, their best since 1991–92.

On 13 March 2021, Wilder left the club by mutual consent, with the club bottom of the Premier League, with 14 points from 28 games. [32]


On 7 November 2021, Wilder was appointed manager of Middlesbrough after the club parted ways with Neil Warnock. [33] After an unbeaten month which saw Boro win four out of their five matches, Wilder was awarded the EFL Championship Manager of the Month award for December 2021 with his wing-back Isaiah Jones winning the Player of the Month award. [34]

Career statistics

Source: [7]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeague FA Cup League Cup OtherTotal
Sheffield United 1986–87 Second Division 110300000140
1987–88 Second Division25000201 [lower-alpha 1] 0280
1988–89 Third Division 29130501 [lower-alpha 2] 0381
1989–90 Second Division8000000080
1990–91 First Division 16010101 [lower-alpha 3] 0190
1991–92 First Division4000100050
Walsall (loan) 1989–90 Third Division4010002 [lower-alpha 2] 070
Charlton Athletic (loan) 1990–91 Second Division1000000010
Charlton Athletic (loan) 1991–92 Second Division2000000020
Leyton Orient (loan) 1991–92 Third Division16100001 [lower-alpha 2] 0171
Rotherham United 1992–93 Second Division32830201 [lower-alpha 2] 0388
1993–94 Second Division37211302 [lower-alpha 2] 0433
1994–95 Second Division45130203 [lower-alpha 2] 0531
1995–96 Second Division18010401 [lower-alpha 2] 0240
Notts County 1995–96 Second Division9000000090
1996–97 Second Division37040201 [lower-alpha 2] 0440
Bradford City 1996–97 First Division7000000070
1997–98 First Division350102000380
Sheffield United 1997–98 First Division8000001 [lower-alpha 4] 090
1998–99 First Division4000100050
Northampton Town (loan) 1998–99 Second Division1000000010
Lincoln City (loan) 1998–99 Second Division3000000030
Brighton & Hove Albion 1999–2000 Third Division110002000130
Halifax Town 1999–2000 Third Division31130001 [lower-alpha 2] 0351
2000–01 Third Division20010101 [lower-alpha 2] 0230
Career total4141425128017048415

Managerial statistics

As of match played 17 September 2022 [35]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Halifax Town 2 July 200230 June 200831212077115038.5
Oxford United 21 December 200826 January 20142691217078045.0
Northampton Town 27 January 201412 May 2016126612837048.4
Sheffield United 12 May 201613 March 20212271064774046.7
Middlesbrough 7 November 2021Present44181115040.9


As a manager

Alfreton Town [36]

Halifax Town

Oxford United

Northampton Town

Sheffield United


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